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29 Indiana J. Global Legal Studies 233 (2022)


The purpose of this paper is to inform readers of the prevalence of and increasing demand for human trafficking, both domestically and globally, and to propose necessary next steps governments must take in order to end the demand for such human exploitation. This paper will closely analyze the issue of trafficking humans for sex and labor within the Western Hemisphere and throughout Asia by using the United States and China as primary case studies. These case studies analyze the specific actions or inactions taken by the United States and Chinese governments to combat modern day slavery, as well as the current criminal sentencing guidelines these countries employ. Further, this paper will examine the theories of criminal punishment, taking a specific interest in the deterrence theory of tort law as a method that can be used to deter offenders and possible future offenders from engaging in such heinous crimes against society.

By focusing on the economic principles that fuel human trafficking, such as low-risk, high-reward; systemic inequalities; and supply and demand, this paper stresses the importance that legislatures, government officials, and country leaders across the globe take an assertive approach in not only enacting legislation that enhances criminal punishments for those who engage in the trafficking of persons, but also enforcing the provisions that are established within the legislation to reduce the overall demand for human exploitation. Lastly, this paper emphasizes the need to reduce at-risk victims' level of vulnerability of exploitation.